The Toxic Avenger: Arts Theatre, London
Reviewed 21st October 2017.
The Toxic Avenger, written by Joe DiPetro and David Bryan, the Tony Award-winning team behind the hit West End musical ‘Memphis’, follows an unlikely hero, Toxie. A mutant freak who is out to save New Jersey and win the heart of his love, Sarah – a blind librarian. This show was a sell out success in 2016 at Southwark Playhouse where it received 6 Off West End Award nominations including Best New Musical. This year it has received an amazing response from Edinburgh Fringe before having a limited run in the West End.
This is certainly a laugh-a-minute show! The audience were laughing out loud throughout the hilarious production. This musical is very un-PC, over the top and full of slap-stick humour. It goes against the norm and allows for pure escapism. It will have you grinning like a cheshire cat and laughing loudly from the start to the very end.
The small cast of just five actors were all outstanding! Mark Anderson plays a fantastic mutant freak, managing to incorporate humour and also show a sensitive, human quality to Toxie. He has a superb voice with a great range. Emma Slavo stole the show as the blind librarian Sarah. She was absolutely hilarious to watch. Every second she was on stage she was in character and again her vocals were amazing. Likewise, Natalie Hope who played several female characters including the evil Mayor certainly has a fine set of lungs and once again her comic timing was spot on.
Che Francis and Oscar Conlon-Morrey excelled at playing all of the other characters including policemen, Sarah’s best friends and highly camp hairdressers. With every character they brought something new and had the audience in stitches. The Legend of the Toxic Avenger sung by Conlon-Morrey as Folk Singer was especially memorable.
Every element of the show was completely thought through from the cleverly designed set, excellent lighting to the fabulous onstage band. The audience was involved throughout and as an added extra for musical theatre fans there were frequent references to other musicals, at least 14 that I counted.
This isn’t your normal kind of musical. It is fun, different and allows you to escape into a world of toxic waste, catchy songs, stunning vocals and gloriously funny characters! You won’t find anything else quite like this in the West End or country at the minute. I can guarantee you will leave intoxiecated! One not to be missed.
The Toxic Avenger is playing at the Arts Theatre, London until the 3rd December 2017. For more information and tickets see https://toxicavengermusical.co.uk